Liam Carey compositions and recordings


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This section is more of a personal statement about me and my music. Third person composer biographies (short and long) for programme notes can be found further down.


About Me:

I am a composer based in Liverpool and, like most composers, I feel really awkward talking about myself like this, so please excuse me if I don’t quite get this right.

Like most of my generation, I come from a varied musical background and prefer to experience music regardless of boundaries or genres: ‘music is music’, as Alban Berg once said to George Gershwin. I write ‘classical’ music, but I also play guitar in bands, DJ, make remixes and mashups, play the banjo, you get the idea. I love lots of different kinds of music and I always enjoy seeing what happens when you try throwing them together.

I write music for a mixture of live instruments, electronics, and video, firstly because it gives me the freedom to cross different musical genres, but also because it allows me to explore topics I find interesting, such as our relationship with technology and the effect that the ways in which we access information shape our view of the world.

In terms of my artistic values I guess I would say that I am a metamodernist, that is I aim to avoid both the rigid rules of modernism and the detached irony of post-modernism. I admire the work of writers such as David Foster Wallace and Zadie Smith, and artists such as Marina Abramovic and LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, and like them I try to create music that conveys sincere narratives but without oversimplifying the complexities of the world.

I aim to create music that includes opposites: consonance and dissonance, chaos and order, seriousness and stupidity, new and old, sometimes switching from one to the other and sometimes both at the same time. And this is because that’s how I feel about life - there are very few things I know for sure, and I often feel like I believe contradictory ideas. The only honest music I can make is that which tries to include both.

If I was to suggest influences, I could probably fill pages and pages, but to just name a few: Aphex Twin, Louis Andriessen, John Adams, Anna Meredith, Brian Wilson, Georg Friedrich Haas, Kaija Saariaho, Stevie Wonder, Gerard Grisey, Abba, Wendy Carlos, Gyorgy Ligeti, Unsuk Chin, Witold Lutoslawski, Steve Reich, Sonic Youth, Henry Cowell, Pauline Oliveros, Pixies, I could keep going…

I live in Liverpool which I love because it is a patchwork city, by which I mean a city with a long history of people from different nationalities, cultures, classes, occupations, and lifestyles, all of whom have left different marks. These marks are not always obvious at first, but over time they gradually reveal themselves to you which means there's always something new to find. Its music scene is small but varied and it’s an excellent place to be if you like to listen to, learn about, and make lots of different kinds of music. If you’re ever here, by all means get in touch.

I have dual British and Irish citizenship but I primarily identify as a British composer. This is because, despite the events of the last few years, I do genuinely still see the UK as a melting-pot nation and I think that my love of multiple kinds of music comes from having grown up here. I think that there remains a lot of people in the UK that are welcoming, open-minded, and outward looking, and I hope that we, as a nation, can continue to create art that engages with the outside world regardless of what happens with Brexit.

As well as composing I am also a performer and producer. I most often perform live electronics and visuals using Max/MSP, and I regularly produce, mix, and remix a variety of styles of music. I also teach, which I genuinely really enjoy because I learn so much from doing it - this is one of those old clichés that actually happens to be very true. And I also organise concerts, in particular as part of Open Circuit Festival which is run every year in Liverpool.

I should probably stop rambling now, but if you like my music enough to have read this far, then thank you. Or, if you’ve liked reading this enough to think you might like to give my music a listen, then you can find some recordings and videos on the ‘recordings’ page. This includes a mixture of pieces for live instruments with and without electronics/video and also a couple of remixes I’ve made.

Liam x




Biographies - short and long versions which can be used for programme notes:


Short

Liam Carey is a composer based in Liverpool who works with live instruments, electronics, and video. He has recently completed a PhD in composition at the University of Liverpool. He comes from a varied musical background, which includes classical, electronica, rock, folk, and dance, all of which he is keen to incorporate into his music. His particular areas of interest include polystylism, auditory perception, and the relationship between modern music and the music of the past. His pieces have been performed by RLPO's Ensemble 10/10, Berg Orchestra, Solem Quartet, Pixels Ensemble, and Line upon Line Percussion.


Long

Liam Carey is a composer based in Liverpool who works with live instruments, electronics, and video. Originally from Greater London, his formative musical experiences mainly involved playing guitar in various rock bands. He attended Liverpool University where he recently completed a PhD in Composition exploring the cognitive and perceptual causes of consonance and dissonance, and seeing whether these ideas can be applied to elements of music other than harmony.

Something of a late comer to classical composition, Liam's has been active in variety of musical styles including rock, electronica, dance, and folk, all of which he is keen to incorporate into his compositions. He is also an experienced recording engineer and records and produces all of his own recordings. He is also an experienced performer, in particular using Max/MSP to perform live electronics.

As a composer Liam's areas of interest include: polystylism and in particular writing pieces which work across different genres and explore the relationship between modern music and the music of the past; auditory perception and in particular the conflict between innate and learned perceptual processes; our relationship with technology and in particular how the way in which we access information shapes our view of the world. His pieces have been performed by RLPO's Ensemble 10/10, Berg Orchestra, Solem Quartet, Pixels Ensemble, and Line upon Line Percussion.



Headshot for use in programme notes